PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The battle lines are now drawn over more than the innocence or guilt of Dr. Robert Ferrante.
The fight is now over who controls his money and who can say what.
Defense Attorney Phil Dilucente is not involved with the case, but has some insight on the money issue.
“I think the judge was being extremely cautious,” Dilucente said. “I think he wanted to make sure he had sufficient funds to properly defend himself, also if there were any experts needed in the case.”
Here’s what the judge did: he freed up nearly $300,000 in a retirement account set up by Ferrante – money he can use for his defense lawyer and other expenses.
However, the judge upheld a freeze on the rest of the couple’s money – more than $2 million in case of civil litigation down the road, possibly filed by the couple’s 6-year-old daughter.
“That child, if Dr. Ferrante is convicted, can bring a wrongful death lawsuit,” Dilucente said. “His asset would sue Dr. Ferrante and have access to all of those monies.”
Ferrante is charged with the cyanide poisoning of his wife, Dr. Autumn Klein, in the couple’s Oakland home in April.
The judge also ordered no more talk in the case, the District Attorney’s Office claiming that TV, radio and newspaper interviews could prejudice the trial process.
“By having a gag order, it keeps the defense lawyer from placing his client in a good light,” Dilucente said. “All we’ve heard about Dr. Ferrante, he’s a potential killer.”